19 Aug 2015

Legend raves: 'Fantastic' £12m star is Liverpool's 'best player this season'. Agree...?

Who is Liverpool's best player so far this season? With only two games played, it's a little premature to be thinking along those lines, but according to Reds legend John Aldridge, one of Brendan Rodgers new signings is head and shoulders above the rest.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo today, Aldo raved:

"Nathaniel Clyne [is] Liverpool’s best player in the opening games. It’s great to see a full-back with that energy and that defensive ability, very little gets past him. He’s going to prove a fantastic buy for Liverpool".

In my view, it's a little too early to get carried away.

Last season, Alberto Moreno had a creditable start for the club, and after scoring a superb goal against Spurs, fans started comparing him to John Arne Riise.

That proved to be premature as Alberto's form tailed off badly in the second half of the season, and there's always a possibility that the same will happen with Clyne.

New players are always eager to make a good start, and it's pointless overpraising players (new or existing) until they've contributed consistently for their club.

Statistically, Clyne compares favourably to Liverpool's other defenders:

Blocks/Recoveries/Clearances/Interception

NC: 25 |  MS: 27 |  DL: 30 |  JG: 26

Duels Won

NC: 64% 25 |  MS: 50% |  DL: 75% |  JG: 33%

Aerial Duels Won

NC: 100% 25 |  MS: 50% |  DL: 80% |  JG: 36%

Tackles Won

NC: 85% |  MS: 100% |  DL: 100% |  JG: 67%

Fouls Conceded

NC: 3 |  MS: 2 |  DL: 1 |  JG: 4

Passing Accuracy

NC: 76% |  MS: 92% |  DL: 85% |  JG: 86%

** NC = Clyne |  MS = Skrtel |  DL = Lovren |  JG = Joe Gomez


Solid stats so far, but compared to Skrtel, Lovren, and Gomez, Clyne is lagging behind on passing accuracy (though that is not specifically a defensive trait).

Two clean sheets is a good endorsement of Clyne's defensive ability, but let's be honest, Stoke and Bournemouth are not the greatest attacking threats in the league. The season really begins on Monday when Liverpool face the likes of Sanchez, Ramsay, Ozil, and Cazorla at the Emirates.

That said, Clyne - who cost Liverpool £12m over the summer - does appear to be settling-in well, and unlike Moreno, and Johnson, he seems to be in control of his defensive 'zone', which hopefully means he'll avoid the costly mistakes that plagued Liverpool's full-backs last season.

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Author: Jaimie K



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